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Q: WWI From the German Soldiers Point of View ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: WWI From the German Soldiers Point of View
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: wrestlechubs-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 24 Oct 2002 13:01 PDT
Expires: 23 Nov 2002 12:01 PST
Question ID: 89324
I need to write a term paper for my AP History Class.  I am looking
for some information pertaining to the German Soldiers point of view
(From the Book All Quiet On The Western Front) versus Treitchke's
views on war, the Chant of Hate, Karl Marx, etc.  Any info or help in
steering me in the right direction to find this information would be
Subject: Re: WWI From the German Soldiers Point of View
Answered By: angy-ga on 25 Oct 2002 02:30 PDT
Hi, Wrestlechubs !

I see that Shennanagins-ga has pointed you to some resources on Marx
and Treitchke, so I will focus on what material is available on the
common soldier's viewpoint as exemplified by the book "All Quiet on
the Western Front".

Spartacus Educational have an Encyclopaedia of World War 1 which can
be found at:

Click on "Soldiers" or go to:

Here you will find links to the experiences of ordinary soldiers from
both sides, including Remarque himself, and others such as Robert
Musil and Ernst Junger. Some examples are:

"Robert Musil, diary entry (22nd September, 1914)

You hear it a long time before it lands. A wind-like whistling or
rushing sound. Growing louder and louder. Suddenly it (a piece of
shrapnel) landed right beside me in the earth. Not a trace of fear,
not even the simply nervous kind like palpitation, which also usually
ensues without fear in cases of sudden shock. Afterwards a pleasant
feeling. Satisfaction at having survived. Pride, almost. Being
accepted into a community, baptism. "

" Ernst Jünger, The Storm of Steel (1919)

... I was entirely alone. 

Then I caught sight of the first of the enemy. A figure crouched,
wounded apparently, three metres in front of me in the middle of the
pounded hollow of the road. I saw him start at the sight of me and
stare at me with wide-open eyes as I walked slowly up to him holding
out my revolver in front of me. A drama without an audience was ready.

An excellent website on World War 1 is Trenches on the Web:

They say: "... These pages contain information on the people, places,
and events that comprised one of the worst calamities of modern
history. Entire kingdoms were to vanish in the clash. The map makers
of the world would be busy indeed!
This is an evolving project. New material is being added on a constant

This site has a page featuring actual postcards written home by Otto
Seeman, a German soldier serving in France, at:

The article was contributed by Randolph. Ubben and Robert Heddin.

There is also a Map Room with maps of the various battles, and other
excellent resources at this site.

Chapter three of  "Handbook of War Facts and Peace Problems" by Arthur
L. Frothingham, discusses Germany's PURPOSE AND METHOD IN MAKING WAR.
It can be found at:

He quotes part of Lissauer's Chant of Hate (Hasslied) Against England
as follows:

" 'What do we care for the Russians or French? 
Shot against shot, and thrust for thrust! 
We fight the foe with bronze and sheath, 
And some day or other we make our peace. 
You we shall hate with enduring hate; 
We shall not forbear from our hate; 
Hate on water and hate on land, 
Hate of the head and hate of the hand, 
Hate of the hammer and hate of the crown, 
Hate of seventy millions pressing down. 
We love as one; we hate as one; 
We have one foe, and one alone, England'
---(From third stanza of song by Bavarian soldier, Ernst Lissauer,
distributed in German army, taught to German school children, set to
music and sung in concerts. Lissauer was decorated for it by the
Kaiser. "Out of Their Own Mouths," p. 119, Current History (1915),

(Ernst Lissauer (1882 - 1937) was a German poet, author, essayist,
dramatist and publisher )

Frothingham describes the deliberate use of atrocities as a policy and
has some interesting citations to support his arguments, for example:

" The Kaiser Confesses to Policy of Murder and Destruction

My soul is torn asunder, but everything must be put to fire and blood.
The throats of men and women, children and the aged must be cut and
not a tree nor a house left standing.

With such methods of terror, which alone can strike so degenerate a
people as the French, the war will finish before two months, while if
I use humanitarian methods it may be prolonged for years. Despite all
my repugnance I have had to choose the first system.---(From letter of
William II. to Emperor of Austria at beginning of war; published in
Report to Clemenceau by two French leaders of International Law,
Larnaude and Lapradelle, Jan. 19, 1919; see U. S. newspapers of Jan.
20, 1919.)"

Frothingham  also quotes the reaction of some of the ordinary German
soldiers to carrying out this actions, including:

"The inhabitants have fled in the village. It was horrible. There was
clotted blood on all the boards, and what faces one saw, terrible to
behold! The dead, sixty in all, were at once buried. Among them were
many old women, some old men, and a half-delivered woman, awful to
see; three children had clasped each other and died thus.---(From the
diary of Lance-Corporal Paul Spielmann of the Ersatz, First Brigade of
Infantry of the Guard: "Germany's violations, etc.," p. 198.)"

This handbook seems to be a good source of information for the kind of
comparisons you are trying to make between the soldier's point of view
versus the "Chant of Hate" etc.

Another translation of the first stanzas of the"Hasslied" by Barbara
Henderson for the New York Times is at:
Some photos of German soldiers are at:

Another good general resource site is:

Some off-line sources include Daily Mail war correspondent H. W.
Nevinson's account of the war fever which gripped Berlin in 1914,
reprinted in Purnell's part work "History of the First World War" Vol
1 no.4 p 102 et seq. This gives some insight into the way ordinary
Germans were feeling at the very beginning of the war.

Among other things, he writes:

"So, the interminable crowds went past, a-tiptoe for was, because they
had never known it. sometimes a company of infantry, sometimes a
squadron of horse went down the road westward...They passed to
probable death amid cheering, hand-shaking, gifts of flowers and of

A biog. and some other quotes from Nevinson are at:

His papers are held in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University.

Other print resources that may prove useful are:

Ashworth, T. Trench Warfare form 1914-1918: the live and let live
system London 1980

Schwarz, Wilhelm J. War and the Mind of Germany. Frankfurt: Peter
Lang, 1975.

Winter, J.M. The Experience of War, Southside (Publishers) Ltd,
Edinburgh n.d.

which itself cites inter alia	
		Blackburne, Harry. W. This also happened on the Western Front 1932

A web page with details of Remarque himself is:

Good luck with your assignment.

Search terms:
"All Quiet on the Western Front"
"German soldiers WW1"
"Nevinson H.W."
"Blackburn Harry Western Front"
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